Category Archives: Tory Scum

As Hunger Soars Iain Duncan Smith Is Still Hiding The Existence Of Emergency Benefit Delay Loans

IDS-malnutritionFollowing last week’s food banks report, which found delays in processing benefits are one of the key reasons for growing hunger in the UK, Iain Duncan Smith said to Parliament:

“Today I have announced that we shall be doing much more to raise awareness of interim payments for people who need them, particularly those who are in difficulty.”

These payments are called Short Term Benefit Advances (STBAs).  These are repayable loans that can be accessed whilst waiting fot the Jobcentre to get round to processing a benefit claim.  And the shameful truth is, that whilst the number of people using foodbanks has soared, the DWP have done everything they possibly can to hide their existence.

There is no mention of these payments on the section of the gov.uk website which provides information on “Jobseeker’s Allowance and low income benefits”  or the section on “Benefits for families”.  In fact there is no mention of these loans on any government website at all except buried in policy documents.

This is not surprising.  When Short Term Benefit Payments were introduced, the jobcentre worker’s PCS Union warned that the DWP did “not intend to advertise the availability of STBAs to the public.”  When guidance on the Social Fund was later published, detailing the kind of help available from the government in an emergency, there was still no mention of these loans.

Short Term Benefit Payments were brought in to replace Crisis Loans which Iain Duncan Smith scrapped in April 2013.  These were small interest free loans which could be taken out if benefit payments were delayed or in the event of a household emergency.  The average sized loan was about thirty quid and the repayment rate was almost 100%.  So blasé was the Secretary of State about ending this vital support that when he was interviewed a year later he seemed to have forgotten his petty and vicious decision and claimed that they still existed.

Crisis Loans were a well publicised part of the benefits system and could be accessed by calling a dedicated phoneline. Unlike STBA’s, Crisis Loans still even have their own webpage – which states they no longer exist in Scotland, England and Wales – but makes no mention of their replacement.  This is not an oversight as Iain Duncan Smith is now trying to pretend.  It is clear that as families with children have gone hungry whilst waiting for benefit claims to be processed, the DWP have pursued a strategy of hiding information detailing the emergency payments they are entitled to.

The reason for this has not been to save money or cut the deficit, these loans barely cost the tax payer a penny.  The existence of these payments was hidden out of pure spite – to deliberately make life harder for people in desperate circumstances to access the help they need.  Now we are seeing the results of that policy with unprecedented numbers of people dependent on food banks to survive this Christmas.  That means children going hungry and all because of a nasty and vindictive little move by Iain Duncan Smith – and one that he is now trying to hide.  Don’t let the bastard  get away with it.

Short Term Benefit Advances can only be accessed by speaking to Jobcentre staff.  Child Poverty Action Group have published details on how the process works.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Court Cases, Chaos and Soaring Debt As Council Tax Reform Unravels

cant-pay wont payThe shambolic postcode lottery which has emerged after reforms to Council Tax Benefit is creating chaos for Local Authorities and driving some people into desperate poverty.

Prior to the non-election of this government most people on out of work benefits were not required to pay council tax.  This was because they didn’t have any money.  This system functioned reasonably well and ensured that sick, disabled or unemployed people were not simply paying back half of their meagre benefits to local government.

Despite this the Tories decided to tear up the rulebook and hand over the powers for helping the poorest pay their council tax to local authorities giving them free reign to charge whatever they chose.  And to ensure maximum carnage, the amount of money made available for the new Council Tax Suppot scheme was cut by 10%.

Sadly many councils approached this chance to attack their most marginalised residents with barely disguised glee.  Some, like Tendring Borough Council, launched a ludicrous local people only scheme, with those new to the area facing full council tax bills even if they didn’t have a penny to their name.  Others, like Leeds City Council, are flirting with the idea of some form of forced workfare or jobsearch sessions for people struggling to pay their council tax.  This would presumably be in addition to the 35 hours a week mandated ‘work related activity’ that unemployed people must now carry out as a condition of their main benefits.

Elsewhere local councils dithered, often with such badly explained changes that many people only found out they were now eligible to pay some of their Council Tax when a court summons arrived.  Ths has led to mass court hearings with hundreds of people in some areas facing costly legal action often over just a couple of pounds a week.  Citizens Advice reported in May this year that council tax arrears are now the most common debt problem reported to them.  Unsuprisingly the cost of taking all these people to court has soared with the latest statistics showing a record £233 million was spent chasing council tax debt in 2013/14 – a rise of over £20 million in just one year.

These have not been the only court casess that some local authorities have found themselves emroiled in.  An important court judgement against Sandwell Council earlier in the year ruled that their policy that people should have lived in the area for two years before receiving a council tax reduction was illegal on six seperate grounds.  This has forced the previously mentioned Tendring Council to also change their local people only rule – and already they are attempting to shift the cost onto their poorest residents by slashing Council Tax Support even further.

Last month Haringey Council were also hit with a court ruling that they had failed to consult properly on reforms to Council Tax Benefit.  The council were found to have misled residents by claiming that they had no choice but to force people on beneifts to pay some council tax.   They weren’t the only ones who attempted this devious approach either.  Many more local authorities could now find that their Council Tax Support policies are unlawful due to bungled, or more correctly biased consultations.

Like so many of this Government’s policies, changes to council tax benefit have only hit the poorest and most voiceless people in the country.  If this was being happening to the latte-slurping middle classes we would never fucking hear about anything else.  Millionaire comedians would be crying in the newspapers about how hard done by they are.  Yet whilst the well off are promised income tax cuts, people living on just a few pounds a week are being plunged into council tax debt.  Arrears have risen by 20% since the reforms were introduced.  The massive growth in benefit sanctions have meant that many unemployed people now have no income at all – but they are still eligible to pay council tax.  Nobody even really knows how many thousands of people are currently being dragged through the courts for non-payment and who could even face prison as a punishment for their poverty.

It is not just those on out of work benefits who have been hit hard by the changes.  Many of the lowest paid are now also eligible to pay some, or more council tax than they were previously.  The poorer you are, the more of your money this Government wants.  And they do not care how much chaos they inflict to get it.

Apologies for the dead link that was wrongly sent out to email subscibers about this post yesterday.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

On 30 Grand A Year With A Couple Of Kids? Then You Aren’t Paying A Penny Towards The Social Security Bill

osborne-toffGeorge Osborne’s tax breakdown reveals that a medium income family with a couple of kids receives more in what the government calls ‘welfare’ than they pay in income tax towards the social security bill.

The Treasury is to send out statements on government spending to every household in the country as part of a crude attempt to outrage tax payers by showing how much public spending goes towards benefit claimants.  But what the figures show is that many of those tax payers are actually scrounging themselves.

When the Treasury say ‘Welfare’ they mean Child Benefit, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA and its replacement PIP), out of work sickness and disability benefits, Carer’s Allowance, Income Support for Lone Parents and a range of smaller benefits.  It also means those on the dole – which represents just 3% of the total spend.  A significant amount of Housing Benefit and DLA goes to pensioners, along with those in work.  Many people claiming Child Tax Credits are working, and all of those claiming Working Tax Credits.  Child Benefit goes to everyone with kids, except for very high earners.  Even some people claiming the dole may be working part time.

Using this definition of welfare, we are almost all net beneficiaries unless we are reasonably well off.  A family with two children and an income of £30,000 a year will receive £1770.60 in Child Benefit payments annually.  This is higher than the amount a family earning this sum contributes to ‘welfare’ – which the Treasury says is £1663.  Depending on this family’s cirucmstances, they may also be eligible for Child Tax Credits of around £1000 a year.  Suddenly the word scrounger doesn’t look so attractive.

Even someone non-disabled and without kids is still getting good value out of the Welfare State.  Private insurance against sickness, disability or unemployment is eye-wateringly expensive and doesn’t provide anywhere near the same level of cover as social security benefits.  The welfare state is good value for everyone except the very rich.  That’s why the very rich want to take it away.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Disabled People Not Worth Minimum Wage Says Lord Fraud, Time For This Nasty Fucking Clown To Go

lord-fraud-freud

“Nearly everything I’ve done has been total chaos.”

Comedy toff and Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Fraud is a joke that stopped being funny a long time ago.  Of all the blundering fucking idiots in the DWP, this failed banker, who cost investors millions due to a series of bungled deals, has shown the true face of the out of touch gilded elite that dominate all of the main political parties.

This is the man who thinks people queue up in foodbanks just for a laugh and not because they are hungry.  The same prick who threatened every Women’s Refuge in the country with closure and wanted to charge the very poorest benefit claimants to have banks manage their personal finances.  The clown who doesn’t even know how much the dole actually pays despite being in charge of reforming it.

His recent comments at the Tory Party Conference, where he agreed that disabled workers are not worth the minimum wage, are a new low  If he stays in his job after this we will know the truth about attitudes towards sickness and disability at the DWP  – as if we didn’t already.  They are not just ignorant about disabled people’s lives, out of touch and incompetant.  They actively believe that disabled people are worth less than non-disabled peopl and so do not deserve the same rights as non-disabled people.  That if you are born or become sick or disabled, then you are a sub-class who should be forced into a lifetime of poverty carrying out below minimum wage work.  Is it any wonder that unpaid work is fast becoming the new segregation for many disabled workers?

Fraud revealed his rancid opinions at a conference fringe meetings when utter cunt, and Tory Councillor, David Scott (@DavidScotttw) said: “I have a number of mentally damaged individuals, who to be quite frank aren’t worth the Minimum Wage.”

Lord Fraud agreed saying: “Now, there is a small… there is a group, and I know exactly who you mean, where actually as you say they’re not worth the full wage and actually I’m going to go and think about that particular issue, whether there is something we can do nationally, and without distorting the whole thing, which actually if someone wants to work for £2 an hour, and it’s working can we actually…”

The comments came to light after Ed Miliband challenged David Cameron about Lord Fraud’s comments at Prime Minister’s Question Time today.  What Miliband didn’t mention is that this very same bastard was at the heart of Labour’s own Welfare Reforms such as the shambolic and cruel Atos run Work Capability Assessment.

Fraud enjoyed impoverishing sick and disabled people so much that when the Tory Party weren’t elected he crossed the floor and joined them so he could carry on with his sick farce.  He has been ususually frank about his incompetence, once admitting in an interview that: “Nearly everything I’ve done has been total chaos.”  But he is a nasty piece of shit as well.  In a just and moral society, both Lord Fraud and his boss Iain Duncan Smith would be put on trial for the horrific suffering their policies have caused.  In the society we’ve got the best we can hope for is that he’s shuffled off to one of his mansions and kept out of public life permanently.  It can’t fucking happen soon enough.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Snouts In The Trough: Legal Loan Shark Firm Cosies Up To Iain Duncan Smith At Tory Dinner

snouts-in-the-troughA company which harasses people in their homes to take out small loans with huge interest rates enjoyed a slap up meal with Iain Duncan Smith at the Tory Party’s Winter fundraising dinner.

The Bureax of Investigative Journalism revealed over the weekend that three executives of a doorstep lenders CLC Finance shared a table with the Secretary of State at the glitzy event where attendees were reported to have a combined wealth of £22 billion.  According to the website, they enjoyed a ‘wide-ranging discussion’with IDS on matters including Universal Credit.  Perhaps they discussed the propsed five week waiting period for the new benefit or the current benefit sanctioning regime which is forcing hundreds of thousands of people into debt and destitution.

CLC Finance are the kind of bastards who persuade you to take out a hundred quid loan and then want a hundred and fifty back from you over the next five months.  Their vile business model is based on the real poverty trap – the stark fact that if you are hungry, or your kid needs shoes, then you will be forced to make short term decisions that have negative consequences in the future.  This doesn’t just lead to poor people staying poor, it makes people in poverty poorer.

There has been no better friend to loan sharks, whether legal or otherwise, than Iain Duncan Smith.  One of his most vindictive welfare reforms was scrapping Crisis Loans, small advance payments which were repayable out of benefits and barely cost the tax payer a penny.  What they meant was that if someone’s oven broke down, they were a vicitm of crime, or faced a similar emergency, then they would not be dependent on scum like Wonga or CLC Finance.

The DWP’s first move was to divert the funding for Crisis Loans to Local Authorities and tell them they could do as they please with it.  Many set up foodstamp style voucher schemes, whilst some abandoned their poorest residents completely and simply sat on most of the money.  Then, at the beginning of this year and around the time of the Tory Fundraising Dinner, the Government announced they would be ending even this scant funding.  This decision prompted many councils to say they would no longer provide any emergency help at all.

A Judicial Review brought by Child Poverty Action Group has prompted the DWP to ‘rethink’ this decision, pending a recently launched pulic consultation.  Of course the real consultations take place around expensive dining tables where private sector poverty pimps cosy up to ministers and discuss ways to make themselves richer at the expense of the rest of us.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Hard Working Families To Face Triple Whammy Of Benefit Cuts Announces Multi-Millionaire Osborne

gideon-osborneThe lowest paid working fmilies are to face a triple whammy of in-work benefit cuts multi-millionaire George Osborne announced today.

Those with jobs, but on shit wages, will see Tax Credits, Housing Benefits and Child Benefit all frozen in a real term cut to the incomes of the very poorest should the Tory Party be re-elected next year.  According to The Guardian the Tories are planning to freeze almost all benefits for two years including: “jobseeker’s allowance, tax credits, universal credit, child benefit, income support, the work-related activity component of employment and support allowance and the local housing allowance.”

Despite Tory lies to the contrary disabled people are also likely to be the hardest hit by these changes.  Whilst Osborne claims they will be protected, the inclusion of most claimants on Employment Support Allowance means that hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people will see already meagre incomes shrink even further.  If they have children, or live in rented accommodation, then they too will also face cuts to child and housing benefits.

At a time when rents are soaring in many parts of the country it is the inclusion of Local Housing Allowance in these plans that is the nastiest cut of all.  There are already huge numbers of people facing homelessness due to soaring rents, slashed social housing and the refusal of many landlords to rent to tenants on any form of benefits.  Osborne’s plan will make this situation far worse, and will affect those in and out of work alike, along with many of the poorest pensioners.

For those on the lowest benefit rates, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, these policies will cause devastation.  Welfare cuts already made mean that unemployed people, living on just £72.40 a week (or less if they are under 25) often have to use that money to top up their rent, pay the Bedroom Tax, or pay Council Tax.  With the price of heating and transport soaring Osborne’s cuts will mean many more people queuing in foodbanks instead of having the time to look for work.

Once again the Chancellor has shown his utter contempt for those who, unlike him, were not handed a vast fortune on a plate due to their parents wealth and privilege.  Despite the rhetoric, he couldn’t give a fuck whether his cuts hit low paid so-called hard working families, unemployed or disabled people or the children of struggling parents.  If you are poor you are fair game to this Government who, if they are re-elected, plan to make you a lot poorer.

Crash the Tory Party Conference Twittersphere with DPAC!!  (@Dis_ppl_protest).  Use Hashtag: #CPC14 to send your own messages or tweet DPAC’s!

Then join the week of action against workfare next week and support the Focus E15 mums fighting for decent housing for all of us – for more details follow them @E15OpenHouse or on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Focus-E15-Mothers/602860129757343

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

TUC Side With Bosses To Back Tory Workfare Scheme

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

In an astonishing and genuinely sad day for the trade uni0n movement, the TUC have teamed up with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to issue a statement supporting unpaid work.

The TUC have sided with the bosses to sing the praises of the Tory Traineeship programme.  This unpaid scheme can involve up to five months full-time work, sometimes for giant profit making companies like BT or Virgin.  The placements are used to ‘prepare’ young people to be Apprentices, although there is no guarantee that they will be offered even this at the end of the scheme.

Just like Margaret Thatcher’s despised YTS schemes, Traineeships represent a wealth grab by greedy employers.  Once companies recognised they had to pay young people whilst they trained – now the tax payer will  pick up the tab whilst the worker gets nothing.  And just like the YTS programme was used as political cover to strip benefits from 16/17 year olds, Traineeships will be used to undermine social security payments for those under 25.  George Osborne has already announced that under 22 year olds who refuse a Traineeship will soon face the prospect of six month’s workfare somewhere else instead. 

Despite Osborne’s announcement, the TUC say in the statement that Traineeships should be voluntary.  As claimants themselves know, very little is voluntary such is the current mass benefit sanctioning culture at the DWP.   This doesn’t seem to bother the scabs running the TUC who seem to have decided that Traineeships aren’t workfare, and even if they would rather they were voluntary they appear to back them anyway.  This is an appalling attack on not just young unemployed people, but all workers who will see their own wages and conditions undermined by an army of unpaid staff.

It is hardly surprising that the CBI are salivating at the prospect of this huge subsidy for business at the expense of the working class.  Tory Skills Minister Nick Boles has joined them saying he is ‘delighted’ that the TUC support this scheme.  They no doubt dream of a day when they don’t have to pay people under 25 at all. That day may not be far away and that the TUC are helping to bring it closer is as shocking as it is shameful.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid